BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The countdown to kick off for Super Bowl LII is on as teams are vying for playoff spots, trying to make their way to Minnesota for the big game.
“The best of the best go to the Super Bowl,” said Officer David Capretto with the NFTA.
While it’s unknown at this point if the Bills will be heading there, a few teams from Buffalo have already clinched positions at the Super Bowl – two K9 teams have been selected to serve and protect during the game.
“To have two dogs from Buffalo, New York be able to go and represent the city is amazing,” said Andre Taibbi, another NFTA officer.
Officer Taibbi and his partner, Holly, along with with Officer Capretto and King are heading to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. They’re among the 80 dog and handler units from around the nation which have been chosen to serve and protect, sweeping sidelines, stands, catwalks, and containers coming into U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Everything and anything that comes into the stadium gets swept,” said Ofc. Taibbi. “From the hot dog you eat to the Coke you drink, everything gets searched.”
The K9 teams are working nonstop, training together to detect explosive devices.
“They’re really the most successful tool in detecting explosives,” said Chief George Gast with the NFTA. “With the world as it is, where there is any special event, there’s a potential for some sort of nefarious activity.”
The NFTA has seven K9 teams so the chief say, losing a pair of partners will not impact their daily operations.
While the officers understand how important the work they’re doing is, they feel like they have the best job since each day, they’re bringing along their best buddy – their partner in protection.
“King wakes up thinking he’s going to play,” said Officer Capretto. “He’s anxious and excited to come out and he really enjoys his job.”
The bond between the pairs is indescribable.
“You rely on them,”said Taibbi. “You become one when you’re working because you have to notice every difference and change in their behavior.”
And their role is critical for security and safety.
“I like to say that I hold the dumb end of the leash,” jokes Officer Capretto. “He’s the brains and will do whatever he can to make sure he does his job 200%.”
“With what we do – looking for explosives – there can be no mistakes made.”
The officers are heading to Minnesota around January 22 and will spend ten days there. The cost for the trip is being absorbed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The teams will be spending around ten days there.